Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats


'53

the most accustomed landscape, your own fields.  Or the face
of somebody you knew and loved.

As he rode down the narrow gravel road that dipped from
the pike toward the creek bottoms, the spring twilight was
fading softly out. He tried to remember if he had ever been
down this road before. When a boy, perhaps. In those days
he had ranged pretty widely over the countryside. He had
thrown a line at one time or another into almost every creek
in the section—Strawberry, Cold Spring, Elk Horn, Dorris—
and at almost every bend for many miles in Black Water
River, And he had clambered up brushy hills at night,
scratching his face and tearing his clothes in his haste to
reach the spot where the dogs had treed. There had been the
blood-stirring, hollow sound of the dogs barking for the tree,
a sound in the frosty woods that reverberated as in a long
cavern, and the hollering of another boy somewhere in the
woods. He himself had run like a dog, not caring for the
whipping brush, straight toward that tree, where the eyes
would shine down from the darkness of the boughs. He had
camped on a good many of these creeks, on Strawberry Creek
itself, but farther down, he remembered. With boys like
little Bill Christian, who was dead now a long time, shot with
his own shotgun. Maybe sometimes he had camped at
Murray Mill itself with the boys. It would be like all the
other old mills, anyhow: the stone dam, hung with moss,
across the creek bed; the disintegrating structure of the mill;
the two-story dwelling-house beyond in a grove of cedars, or
the chimneys where one had burned. At night the motion-
less water above the dam would look like slick, black metal.

Anyway, he knew what the country was like up here, for
he had been up the main Murray Mill road many times.
The good soil gave out along here. Here the hillsides rose
sharply from the creek bottom, nothing but the red day
sticking to hunks of limestone, and cedars with their stringy
roots grappling at the fissures in the rock.

Mr. Munn could hear the sound of the flowing water, and